Rick Perry’s New Enemy – America’s Ally Turkey

Looking for Enemies in All the Wrong Places

Republican presidential candidates seem to think expressing a desire to make enemies makes them more electable. Iran is the most common enemy (though Gingrich memorably went after the Palestinians), but Rick Perry (who last year couldn’t distinguish the Iraq War from the Iran War) has found a new target: America’s ally and fellow NATO member Turkey, saying at Monday night’s Republican debate in South Carolina that the Turkish government is led by “Islamic terrorists”:

“Obviously, when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists, when you start seeing that type of activity against their own citizens, then yes — not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO, but it’s time for the United States, when we look at their foreign aid, to go to zero with it.”

His words prompted the State Department to respond – albeit mildly –  Mark Toner, a spokesperson saying on behalf of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, “We absolutely and fundamentally disagree.”

It’s impossible not to agree with the more pointed response of Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, which said of his remarks:

“Those individuals who are candidates for positions requiring responsibility such as the U.S. presidency are expected to be more knowledgeable on global affairs and more careful in their statements.”

As the old saying goes, “If wishes were horses…”  Knowledgeable and global affairs don’t get into the same sentence where GOP candidates are concerned. The Turkish government – a democracy – led since 2002 by the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), is, of course, less than happy with Perry, accusing him of making “unfounded and inappropriate allegations.”

But Perry, who said on Monday that “The idea that (Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan’s regime has somehow or other earned our respect is not correct,” defended his words when appearing on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer: “This is a country that’s got some explaining to do to the United States.”

Watch the Video from CNN:

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Perry spokesperson Ray Sullivan had this to say in a written statement:

“The debate question was specifically about the increased Islamist influence in Turkey, violence against civilian women in Turkey and association with Hamas. Turkey can be a valuable ally, but the actions of the current government undermine that country’s role in an organization like NATO. We need to send the message to Turkey that internal violence, association with terrorist groups and radical Islamist influence are inconsistent with being a NATO ally and positive player in world affairs.”

Ironically, as CNN reports,

But that relationship has improved dramatically over the last several years. Turkey has commanded the NATO mission in Afghanistan four times over the last decade, and the United States shares real-time intelligence from aerial drones for the Turkish military’s ongoing war with rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party, who operate along the mountainous border between Turkey and Iraq.

Sounds like the perfect time to launch an attack – if you’re a semi-sane Republican candidate for president, that is. Though Turkey has moved away from Iran recently, sided with the West with regards to Syria and forms part of NATO’s missile shield (all good things you would imagine), it did expel the Israeli ambassador back in September after 9 Turkish citizens were killed in the Gaza flotilla fiasco. It is well known that no GOP candidate accepts any criticism of Israel – they cannot and have any hope of fundamentalist Christian support on Election Day.

Ironically but hardly surprisingly, Perry, who supports the idea of a conservative Christian government for America is attacking Turkey for having a conservative Islamic government. And the GOP has a less than stellar record itself when it comes to women’s rights.

If one feels the need to look for more (and possibly far more pertinent) reasons for GOP zaniness, FOX News helpfully points out that Perry is polling last in South Carolina according to most polls. Turkey is not unaware of where the Texas governor ranks in American minds. Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said of Perry’s polling:

“This reflects the commonsense of the U.S. electorate. The U.S. has no time to lose with such candidates who do not even know America’s allies.”

Again, you can’t help but agree, because the last thing America – or the world – needs right now is some more Bush-era cowboy diplomacy by a guy who makes Bush himself look like a Rhodes Scholar.

10 Replies to “Rick Perry’s New Enemy – America’s Ally Turkey”

  1. Indeed, it is hard to tell whether Perry was born with this stellar stupidity, or whether he has worked especially hard all his life to develop it.

  2. All I keep thinking is, poor Hillary! She’s got to field the calls like something out of a “Dr Strangelove” shtick…”Yes, Demetri, no, Demetri, we love you, I love you…this is a silly misunderstanding, Demetri…”

    Poor Hillary has to reiterate what a jackass Perry is, that he really IS that stupid and no, he won’t get his hand on the reigns of power. At least she has a great laugh and wit about her…poor Hillary.

  3. It’s strange how a person can torture himself like this. Rick Perry obviously knows nothing about American foreign affairs and as far as I can tell can’t see past the smokestacks burning off the gas in Texas. This guy should never say anything about foreign affairs because like Newt Gingrich, he is never right.

    he is no different than Newt Gingrich who just lied on television and said that the United States canceled wargames with Israel so that they wouldn’t upset Iran. If this is the type of foreign affairs knowledge he has, he needs to drop out.

    “Israel has postponed joint military maneuvers with the US, which were supposed to begin in the Negev in the next few months, due to budgetary constraints, ”

    none of these Republicans have any idea what is going on within our borders that they can be truthful about, and have no idea at all what is going on outside our borders. There is no excuse for even considering any of these people for the presidency.

  4. Perry’s epic stupidity has gone from being funny to being downright frightening. He is dangerously ignorant, to the point that he could have caused a major problem with one of this country’s allies. No one in his or her right mind would want this lunatic to be anywhere the WH phone for a 3:00 a.m. call. Since he has been a candidate for the GOP nomination, his stupidity has become way too obvious to overlook. It explains why he wouldn’t engage in debates when he was running to be the governor of Texas, and I sincerely hope that they never elect him again for any office.

  5. it bad enough that Rick Perry is an idiot just to Americans, now he has to go and piss off Turkey With his complete ignorance of foreign affairs. Even Turkey recognizes how horrible these candidates are.

  6. He hates turkey because they are a secular run government. He wanted to piss them off and make them the enemy.

  7. but can he recite his abc’s while standing on one foot while taking a sobriety test on a two-lane blacktop after a secret night out at a houston gay bar?

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